Native vegetation management

Reducing the amount of vegetation around your property is a good way to reduce the fuel a bushfire needs to burn.

However, there are limits to what you can clear without permission.

In 2009 new rules were introduced to help manage bushfire risks and protect lives and property, while minimising the impacts on native vegetation, animals and their ecosystems.

Find out about the rules here.

Find the answers to native vegetation clearance frequently asked questions here.

More information:

Native Vegetation Management Resources - Guide to Managing Native Vegetation for Bushfire Safety
Fuel management is a key part of being Bushfire Ready. If we manage the fuel we improve the chances of controlling the intensity of a bushfire. As a component of this, managing native vegetation presents us with particular challenges as we try to conserve significant natural assets and act to protect life and property. This Guide, which has been developed by the South Australian Government, the South Australian Country Fire Service, and the Native Vegetation Council, outlines the actions you may take to manage native vegetation to reduce the impact of bushfires.
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Native Vegetation Management Resources - Fact Sheet 1 - Managing native vegetation to protect a building
You can reduce, modify or remove native vegetation within 20 metres of a building to help protect your home in a bushfire. This type of fuel management is part of the Asset Protection Zone and when combinedwith other measures will help to reduce the impact of radiant heat during a bushfire.
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Native Vegetation Management Resources - Fact Sheet 2 - Managing native vegetation to protect a structure
You can reduce, modify or remove native vegetation within 5 metres of a structure to help protect it in a bushfire. This type of fuel management is part of the Asset Protection Zone and when combined with other measures will help to reduce the impact of radiant heat during a bushfire.
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Native Vegetation Management Resources - Fact Sheet 3 - Managing native vegetation to reduce fuel strategically
Strategic fuel reduction activities are often included in a Bushfire Buffer Zone, generally occurring on larger areas of land, and can be undertaken on any private or public land. If you want to strategically reduce the amount of fuel on your property, you need to do so according to a relevant approved bushfire prevention plan for the area.
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Native Vegetation Management Resources - Fact Sheet 4 - Managing native vegetation to construct a fuel break
In some circumstances, you can remove native vegetation without approval to construct fuel breaks so that bushfires burning into them can be more readily controlled.
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Native Vegetation Management Resources - Fact Sheet 5 - Managing native vegetation to construct a fire access track
You can remove native vegetation to construct a fire access track. Fire access tracks differ from "standard vehicle access tracks" because they are constructed and maintained to allow the safe passage of firefighting vehicles. Activities to construct a fire access track that do not fall under a bushfire prevention plan need to be approved by the CFS.
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Native Vegetation Management Resources - South Australian Firebreaks, Fire Access Track and Sign Standards Guidelines
State Government Agencies, undertaking bushfire prevention measures on land they manage, have established firebreaks and tracks used for fire access, often with varying objectives and specifications.This document seeks to present guidelines to enable Government Agencies to achieve a consistent approach in the establishment and maintenance of firebreaks and tracks used for fire access.
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Application to manage Native Vegetation to reduce the impact of Bushfire
Use the following application form to seek approval for activities as specified throughout the A guide for managing Native Vegetation to reduce the impact of Bushfire (2009) (download a copy from www.cfs.sa.gov.au). It is important that you provide adequate information about the activities you are proposing to carry out when completing your application form. Applications must be signed by an owner of the property where the works are to be carried out.
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Rules for native vegetation

Bushfire is a real risk for all South Australians and you can't predict when a bushfire will strike. But your chances of survival are increased if you are prepared.

The State Government, CFS and Native Vegetation Council and Local Councils are working together to protect life and property, while still recognising the value of native vegetation.

New rules are now in place to make it easier for you to be better bushfire prepared. Follow the 7 simple steps to prepare your property today.

As part of your overall bushfire preparedness, you should consider clearing your property of native grasses, shrubs and small trees where required.

A suite of simple and user-friendly publications has been developed which clearly communicate these new rules.

What is the new process? 7 simple steps...

  1. Decide what type of action you wish to undertake to manage native vegetation on your property for bushfire safety purposes. Need assistance? Refer to the Decision Making Matrix below.
  2. View the corresponding fact sheets that will inform you of what you can do to reduce, modify or remove native vegetation for bushfire preparedness, and whether any further approvals are required.
  3. If further approvals are required, download the application form.
  4. Fill out the sections of the applications form that relate to the activity you wish to undertake.
  5. Submit your application form to your local CFS Regional Office via fax, post or in person.
  6. On receipt of your form, the CFS will contact you to discuss your application and if necessary meet you on-site for an inspection.
  7. The CFS will then advise you of the outcome of your application.

Native Vegetation Management Decision-Making Matrix

Native Vegetation Management Decision-Making Matrix
Reason? What can be done? Is approval needed?
To protect a building You can reduce, modify or remove native vegetation within 20m of a building (including overhanging limbs). Significant trees may be protected under the Development Act 1993. Contact your local Council for further information. No
  You can modify or remove native vegetation further than 20m from a building to reduce fuel loads. Yes
To protect a structure You can reduce, modify or remove native vegetation within 5m of a structure (including overhanging limbs). Significant trees may be protected under the Development Act 1993. Contact your local Council for further information. No
  You can modify or remove native vegetation further than 5m from a structure to reduce fuel loads. Yes
To reduce fuel strategically Fuel loads can be strategically reduced or modified on any private or public land. Yes
To construct a fuel break You can remove vegetation to construct a fuel break up to 5m wide. No
  In some regions you can remove native vegetation to construct a fuel break up to 7.5m wide (see below for a list of regions). No
  On a property used for primary production, you can remove native vegetation to construct a fuel break up to 20m wide. Yes
  You can remove native vegetation to construct fuel breaks greater than 20m wide. Yes
To construct fire access tracks You can remove native vegetation to construct fire access tracks that are consistent with the standards detailed below. Yes